ARNOLD, Joseph

1782 - 1818

Josephus Arnold

Joseph Arnold, was born at Beccles, Suffolk on 28 December 1782, fourth son of Edward Arnold, a tanner. Apprenticed to Mr Crowfoot, an apothecary at Saxmundham, Suffolk then entered Edinburgh University where, in 1807, he graduated MD. He then joined the Navy and served in H.M.S. Victory, and on 3 March 1809 was promoted surgeon medical officer and transferred to H.M.S. Hindostan, detailed to convey the 73rd Regiment to Sydney arriving on 28 December 1809. In 1815 he visited Sydney again, in charge of the female convict transport 'Northampton' bound for Botany Bay, the first surgeon-superintendent of a convict ship appointed on the British government's adoption of that system. He contemplated settling in Sydney to practise but, partly because Macquarie ignored him and partly because he was unable to reduce his living expenses below 13s. a day, he relinquished the idea and on 13 July 1815 took passage for England aboard the ‘Indefatigable’ via Java [Batavia] where the ship, with most of his specimens, was destroyed by fire at the water's edge including some of his journals and his collection of insects from South America, Australia and Sunda Strait which he had kept during his service containing details of people, anecdotes, extracts and natural history notes from many parts of the world with many illustrations. He returned to live with his brother at Beccles but on the recommendation of his friend Sir Joseph Banks, went to Sumatra in early 1818 under governor Sir Stamford Raffles, to attend medically, Raffle's new wife Sophia, and as government appointed naturalist. He studied intensively in London for some weeks before sailing for Bencoolen, where he arrived on 22 March 1818. After an expedition, with Raffles, into the interior he died of fever at Padang, Sumatra on 26 July the same year. There is a monument to his memory in Beccles Church. ['The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870' and Copsey 'Suffolk Authors to 1800'].

Works by This Artist